State to close 2 centers for disabled over next 3 years

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania officials have announced plans to close two centers for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities over the next three years.

The Department of Human Services said Tuesday that public meetings will be held next month to gather comment on the plans to close the Polk State Center in Venango County in western Pennsylvania and the White Haven State Center in northeastern Pennsylvania's Luzerne County.

The Polk center currently serves 194 residents and the White Haven center serves 112 people.

Officials say the commonwealth has steadily closed most state centers since the 1960s "when best practices turned toward community-based settings and away from institutions." Fifty years ago, the department served more than 13,000 people with intellectual disabilities in state-operated facilities, but today fewer than 720 receive care in such facilities.

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